Bertel Thorvaldsen

Sender’s Location


Information on sender

Poststempel: T. T. / HAMBURG / 6. Mai 34 samt ROMA / xx / A[resten af stemplet ulæseligt]. Desuden stemplet: Stato Pontificio.
Der er skåret et rundt hul på 3 cm i brevet, hvor lakseglet har været.


C.F. Hansen

Recipient’s Location


Information on recipient

Udskrift: S: T:I / Hr. Conferentsraad, Overbygnings – / Direkteur Hansen, Comman / deur / af Dannebrog et etc etc / Copenhague. / Dannemarc. / Par Hambourg
Tilskrift: Høivelbaarne Hr: Conferentsraad, Overbygnings – / Direkteur Hansen, Commandeur af / Danebrogen etc etc.

Dating based on

Dateringen fremgår af brevet.


Thorvaldsen is in bed with a severe cold and dictates the letter to Ludvig Bødtcher, so C.F. Hansen must content himself with a hearty greeting from a “strange hand” since Thorvaldsen has not been able to go to Denmark and embrace him personally. The last five pieces of the Alexander Frieze are now ready to be sent to Copenhagen. Sketches of the four prophets have been completed, and Thorvaldsen asks for the dimensions of the niches in the Church of Our Lady where they are to be placed. He itemizes the bill for the artworks for Christiansborg Palace and the Church of Our Lady and asks that the greater part of the money – a sum of 20,000 species – not be paid to himself but deposited in an account in the National Bank for his daughter Elisa. He has promised this to his son-in-law, Fritz Paulsen, just after the couple’s wedding 25.12.1832, and as Paulsen is pressing for the money, he asks that it be deposited as soon as possible. Thorvaldsen would like to be present at the installation of John the Baptist Preaching , cf. A59-A70, on the pediment of the Church of Our Lady. An enclosed engraving shows that the figures are standing on a rock that will be so placed as not to weigh down the cornice.


Kjære Hr Conferentsraad, min meget ærede Ven!

Rom: 16 April 1834.

Istedet for, som jeg haabede, nu at have kunnet omfavne Dem i KiøbenhavnII, maa jeg nøjes med ved en fremmed HaandIII at sende Dem min hjerteligste Hilsen, idet jeg selv ligger til Sengs, med spanske Fluer paa Armene for om mueligt at forjage en ForkjølelsesgigtIV hvoraf mit Bryst lider. Den vedholdende kolde Luft er vel Skyld deri, og Folk gaar her endnu i deres Kapper midt i April Maaned, noget, som jeg i Rom neppe erindrer Mage til. Denne Upasselighed sinker naturligviis min Afreise, og da jeg har adskjelligt Nødvendigt at meddele, henvender jeg mig skriftlig til min gamle Hædersven.

Af Friesen Alexanders TriumfV har jeg nu fuldendt de sidste 5 Stykker, som i disse Dage blive overgivne Hr Consul ChiaveriVI til AfsendelseVII, og mit Ønske er at min Ven vilde træffe en passende Leilighed til dette Arbeides Befordring til DanmarkVIII. –

Til de fire Profeter ere SkitzerneIX fra min Haand færdige og jeg ønskede nu nøje at vide Høiden, Breden og Dybden af NitscherneX, da disse Figurer ikke kunne hensættes frit paa Pjedestalen uden at hindre Passagen. –

Da jeg ved min Datte[r]sXI BryllupXII har givet min SvigersønXIII Løfte om strax at indsætte 20,000 SpeciesXIV i Kjøbenhavns NationalbankXV, er det mig meget magtpaaliggende at dette uden Forhaling kunde skee, og idet jeg ønsker denne Sum udredet af hvad jeg for allerede afleverte Værk og andre Arbeider vil have tilgode i Hjemmet, tilskikker jeg min ærede Ven en Liste over samme, med Bøn om, at De venskabeligen vil hjelpe til saa hurtig som mueligt at fremme mit Ønske, da det fra min Svigersøns Side foraarsager mig nogen UrolighedXVI. Af allerede leverte Arbeider ere:

4re. MedaillonsXVII til SlotsportaletXVIII ........... 2000 Sp.
FriesenXIX og de 2de. ChariatiderXX ............. 14000 –
Christus-FigurXXI ....................................... 6000 –
FrontonenXXII til Frue Kirke …................... 4000 – (ikkun mit eget Udlæg)

Dertil komme endnu andre Arbeider, som jeg ved min Hjemkomst skal detaillere, ligesom jeg da ogsaa skal gjøre Afregning for hvad jeg alt har modtaget forud. Jeg ønsker, som sagt denne Sag hurtig afgjort, da den allerede strax efter BryllupetXXIII skulde være skeet, og haaber ikke at møde nogen Hindring, selv om jeg ikke havde saa meget at fordre, da mine mange andre Arbeider stedse tilbyde Godtgjørelse, og Pengene desuden blive i Landet. Endnu engang anbefaler jeg denne Sag ret varmt til min ærede Vens Omsorg, beredtvillig fra min Side til at vise enhver Gjentjeneste. –

Udgifterne for de af mig hjemsendte Gibsafstøbninger af Antiker og egne ArbeiderXXIV, skal jeg ved min Ankomst give Forklaring over, som ogsaa i Henseende til hvad jeg af Büster og Andet har hjemsendt for der at fuldendes. Ogsaa er det vel godt at jeg selv er tilstæde ved Opsætningen af Friesen paa FrontonenXXV af Frue Kirke. Af KobberstikketXXVI vil min Ven see, at Figurerne komme til at staa paa en Klippe, der som et Stykke bliver befæstet saaledes i Muren at det ikke trykker paa GesimpsetXXVII, og overmales med en passende Oliefarve. Dog – bedre vil det være at tale mundtlig med Dem om dette og andet for mit Fædreland, end som nu skriftlig ved en fremmed Haand og sengeliggende og med Smerte i Arm og Bryst. Lev vel kjære Hr Conferentsraad! jeg haaber at dette Brev vil blive det sidste fra Rom, og at mit Helbred vil tillade mig at opfylde min Længsel efter snart at see og omfavne Dem.

Med Høiagtelse! Deres Hengivnest
Albert ThorvaldsenXXVIII

Oversættelse af dokument

Sir, Konferensråd my most esteemed friend,

Rome, April 16th 1834

Instead of having been able to embrace you in Copenhagen as I hoped I must be content with sending you my sincere greeting by another’s hand, as I myself am in bed with Spanish Flies on my arms to drive away if possible arthritis in my breast due to a cold. It is probably due to the persevering cold air, and here people are still wearing their cloaks in the middle of April, something I hardly remember the like of. This indisposition of course delays my departure, and as I have several urgent things to impart, I turn to my true and esteemed friend in writing.

I have now finished the last 5 pieces of the Frieze Alexander’s Triumph, which these days are handed over to Consul Chiaveri for shipment, and I want my friend to find a suitable conveyance for the transport of this work to Denmark. –

The sketches for the four prophets have been finished by me and I now wish to know exactly the height, the width and the depth of the niches, as these figures cannot be placed isolated on the pedestal without obstructing the passage. –

As I have promised my son-in-law at my daughter’s wedding immediately to place 20,000 Species in the National Bank in Copenhagen, I am very anxious that this can happen without delay, and wishing this sum defrayed from what I am owed for the work already delivered and other works, I send my esteemed friend a list of the same, begging you kindly to help further my wish as quickly as possible as it causes me some anxiety on my son-in-law’s part. Of already delivered works are:

4 Medallions for the palace portal ........... 2000 Sp.
The Frieze and the 2 Caryatids .................. 14000 –
Christ figure ....................................... 6000 –
The pediment for the Church of Our Lady …..... 4000 – (only my outlay)

Besides these, there are still other works, which I shall give details about on my return, just as I also then shall settle accounts for what I have received in advance. As said, I wish this matter settled quickly as it should have happened immediately after the wedding and I hope to meet no obstacles even though I did not have so much to claim, as my many other works ever offer remuneration and besides the money will remain in the country. Once more I warmly recommend this matter to the care of my esteemed friend, on my part I am willing to return the service. –

At my arrival I shall explain the expenses for the plaster casts of antiques and my own works, which I have sent home, and also what regards what I have sent home of busts and other works to be finished there. I think it is also a good thing that I am present at the setting up of the Frieze on the pediment of the Church of Our Lady. From the engraving my friend will see that the figure will be placed on a rock which in one piece will be made fast in the wall so that it does not press on the cornice, and it will be painted in a suitable oil colour. However – it will be better to speak verbally with you about this and other things for my native country than as now in writing by a strange hand and bedridden with pains in arm and breast. Take care, kind Konferensråd, I hope this letter will be the last from Rome and that my health will permit me to have my wish to see you soon and embrace you.

Yours respectful. Yours ever,
Albert Thorvaldsen

[Translated by Karen Husum]

General Comment

Den 16.4.1834 sendte Thorvaldsen også et brev til Jonas Collin med selv samme regnskab.

Brevet blev erhvervet af Thorvaldsens Museum i 1936 fra en efterkommer af C.F. Hansen sammen med 86 andre breve til arkitekten, jf. THM j.nr. 5, 11/1936.

Document Type

Færdigt dokument af koncipist


Ludvig Bødtcher

Archival Reference

m28A I, nr. 18


Ikke omtalt hos Thiele.




A503 Alexander den Stores indtog i Babylon, 1812, inv.nr. A503
A55 Karyatide, 1813, inv.nr. A55
A56 Karyatide, 1813, inv.nr. A56
A82 Kristus, 1821, inv.nr. A82
A67 En jæger, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A67
A59 Johannes Døberen , 1821-1822, inv.nr. A59
A60 En ung mand, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A60
A61 En søn med sin far, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A61
A62 En mor med sin søn, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A62
A63 En gammel skriftklog, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A63
A64 En liggende dreng, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A64
A65 En dreng, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A65
A66 En farisæer, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A66
A68 To børn, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A68
A69 En mor med sit barn, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A69
A70 En hyrde, 1821-1822, inv.nr. A70
A317 Herkules og Hebe, 1808, inv.nr. A317
A318 Hygieia og Æskulap, 1808, inv.nr. A318
A319 Minerva og Prometheus, 1807-1808, inv.nr. A319
A320 Nemesis og Jupiter, 1810, inv.nr. A320


  1. Dvs. salvo titulo, der er latin for “med forbehold for titlen”. Udtrykket bruges i tilskrifter på breve, når man vil angive, at man ikke kender titlen, eller at denne formalitet ikke er nødvendig.

  2. Thorvaldsen was planning to travel to Copenhagen in the autumn of 1832, but the journey was postponed several times and not begun until 5.8.1838.

  3. The letter is written by the Danish writer
    Ludvig Bødtcher.

  4. See also documents regarding the subject Thorvaldsen’s Health.

  5. Alexander the Great’s Entry into Babylon (the Alexander Frieze), marble, Christiansborg Palace, cf. A503, cf. the article Commission for Christiansborg Palace.

  6. The danish consul in Rome Luigi Chiaveri.

  7. I.e. transportation from Rome to Leghorn.

  8. Cf. the article Transportation of Thorvaldsen’s Artworks to Copenhagen 1835.

  9. These are probably sketches of the four so-called “Major Prophets” of the Old Testament, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, that C.F. Hansen and Thorvaldsen at one time considered placing at the entrance of the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, cf. letters dated:

    See Thorvaldsen’s sketches of prophets in Samlingerne, Thorvaldsens Museum, search for “profet*”.

  10. In a letter dated 16.8.1834, C.F. Hansen informed Thorvaldsen of the dimensions of the niches in the entrance portal of the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen.

  11. Thorvaldsen’s daughter Elisa Paulsen.

  12. Cf. the Thorvaldsen Chronology 25.12.1832.

  13. The Danish lieutenant-colonel Fritz Paulsen.

  14. I.e. 20,000 species or 40,000 rix-dollars in silver, cf. documents regarding the subject Elisa Paulsen’s Dowry.

  15. Jf. Nationalbanken i Kjøbenhavn.

  16. Fritz Paulsen was eager to ensure that the formalities regarding Elisa’s dowry were settled as soon as possible, and he was constantly reminding Thorvaldsen to get things done, cf. the documents regarding the subjects Elisa Paulsen’s Dowry and Elisa and Fritz Paulsen’s Marriage.

  17. * Hercules and Hebe, marble, Christiansborg Palace, cf. A317.

  18. See also documents regarding Christiansborg Palace, Great Portal.

  19. Alexander the Great’s Entry into Babylon (the Alexander Frieze), marble, Christiansborg Palace, cf. A503, cf. the article Commission for Christiansborg Palace.

  20. Caryatids, marble, Christiansborg Palace, cf. A55 and cf. A56.

  21. Christ, marble, the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen, cf. A82.

  22. John the Baptist Preaching, terracotta, the pediment of the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen, cf. A64, A63, A62, A61, A60, A59, A65, A66, A67, A68, A69, A70.

  23. I.e. immediately after 25.12.1832.

  24. I.e. plaster casts of both antique and Thorvaldsen’s contemporary works that became part of the study collection of the Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, cf. Commission for the Academy of Fine Arts.

  25. John the Baptist Preaching, terracotta, the pediment of the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen, cf. A64, A63, A62, A61, A60, A59, A65, A66, A67, A68, A69, A70.

  26. Probably:

  27. There had been concerns that the cornice would not be able to bear the weight of the group of figures, cf. documents regarding the subject “Commission for the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen”:/artikler/bestillingen-til-vor-frue-kirke.

  28. Thorvaldsen has signed the letter himself.

Last updated 29.05.2017